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ASU Art Museum to Launch Desert Initiative: Desert One This Fall

Since the ASU Art Museum announced local artist and arts advocate Greg Esser would take on the Desert Initiative this fall, the arts and science communities have been all ears waiting to hear more about the artistic and science-based initiative aimed at desert cultures and environments.

See also: Greg Esser Takes on the Desert Initiative at the ASU Art Museum See also: Matthew Moore and Carrie Marill Purchase the Holgas Building and Partner with ASU's Desert Initiative

Now, the Desert Initiative has unveiled Desert Initiative: Desert One (DI:D1), a "creative collaboration" between regional museums, cultural centers, universities, and public agencies in the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mojave and Great Basin deserts. This will be first of a series of programs falling under the Desert Initiative umbrella.

DI:D1 will "investigate the desert as a site of critical and creative inquiry" by bringing together the four desert regions in North America, according to a press release from last week. Museums and other cultural outlets throughout the region will present a series of exhibitions, lectures, projects and events, all of which will draw inspiration from desert landscapes.

Although Desert One focuses on the American Southwest, Esser says he hopes the proceeding programs will expand both geographically as well as chronologically.

"The desert is a unique and beautiful environment," Esser says. "I think this will be important for the future of human evolution in climatically challenging environment."

And while he hopes to see the focus of the initiative broaden over time, the action will kick off in our own backyard.

DI:D1 will officially launch at The Eighteenth International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness. The ISEA2012 symposium gathers electronic art and artists from around the globe and will run from September 19 to 24.

To represent DI:D1 at ISEA2012, Portuguese artist Miguel Palma will display his "Remote Desert Shuttle."

The ASU Art Museum and Desert Initiative commissioned Palma to develop the "mobile project," which they hope to use to photograph and film natural desert environments. During the day, the vehicle, which Palma constructed from a former military truck, will capture images of arid landscapes. The images will then be projected onto building facades in urban settings at night, essentially bringing the desert into the city.

After its display at ISEA2012, the shuttle we will be available to view at the ASU Art Museum opening weekend, September 28-29.

Other DI:D1 projects include ARID, a "peer-reviewed bi-annual journal focusing on cross-disciplinary explorations of desert arts, design, culture, and the environment for both scholarly and new audiences." DI:D1 also runs an artist residency program in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios.

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"Artists are working with scientists and a range of other disciplines to imagine innovative new paths through our potential futures," ASU Art Museum Director Gordon Knox said in the press release. "Desert Initiative showcases an incredible range of exhibitions, programs and events that demonstrate the powerful impact that art can have as a way of investigating and knowing the world."

Miguel Palma teaser from ASU Art Museum on Vimeo.

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